CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing

It’s no secret that our skin begins to change majorly with age. That once firm complexion may now be sporting sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and less than taut skin. While the skin-rejuvenating options run the gamut from less invasive solutions to more invasive ones, nothing compares to the rejuvenating and skin refreshing power of a CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment.


CO2 laser skin resurfacing addresses a handful of age- and skin-related changes to revert the skin to its original and more youthful glow by eliminating spots, discoloration, textural changes, and minimal looseness in the skin. 

Often used alongside other rejuvenation procedures, a CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment is one of the most commonly performed more aggressive lasers to dramatically improve the appearance of aging skin.

What is CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?

CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a laser treatment that employs ablative carbon dioxide (CO2) to remove damaged skin from the surface. This aggressive form of resurfacing works best on moderate to severely damaged skin.

Unlike non-ablative lasers, which leave the surrounding skin intact, a CO2 laser is ablative and uses heat to vaporize skin cells. Ablative lasers are known for creating younger-looking skin by stimulating collagen production, whisking away damaged, pigmented cells, and tightening the skin for fewer lines and wrinkles. Due to the intensity of the procedure, ample healing time is required, but the results are unparalleled.

CO2 lasers use intense wavelengths to emit energy into the skin that physically removes the outermost layer of skin. Water within the skin cells can absorb these superstrong wavelengths, allowing CO2 lasers to ablate the skin–it’s almost like taking a heavy-duty eraser to the skin. In doing this, the skin receives a signal to start the natural repair process, which stimulates the production of new collagen. Once new collagen is made as a wound response, the skin becomes noticeably smoother, more even in tone and texture, and younger-looking over time.

What is the difference between CO2 lasers and other facial lasers?

There’s a big difference between CO2 lasers and other lasers used to refresh the skin on the face. Perhaps the most significant difference is that CO2 lasers are ablative, meaning they remove the uppermost layer of skin. Non-ablative lasers keep the skin intact and don’t cause any damage to it.

Since CO2 lasers resurface the skin by vaporizing it, they are more aggressive than other lasers and require a lengthy recovery process. These lasers also can resurface the skin deeper than other devices, which means the results are also more dramatic.

Some skin tones are better suited for an intense CO2 laser, whereas more skin tones are compatible with lighter lasers. For example, those with a Fitzpatrick skin type I or II tend to fare better with more aggressive lasers, like a CO2 laser, since there is less melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color), making post-laser pigmentation less of an issue.

Also, CO2 laser treatments are known to work better for some skin issues, namely those that are related to textural changes. Often, these conditions are better suited with a CO2 skin laser treatment as opposed to lighter laser treatments:

  • Stubborn acne scars
  • Scars
  • Stretch marks
  • Heavy lines and wrinkles

Target Areas

There are many areas on the face where CO2 laser treatments are safe to perform while garnering effective results.

Because the treatment works hard to destroy damaged skin and reverse pigmentation, it works well for areas that display an immense amount of sun damage, like the sides of the face and the forehead.

For the most part, CO2 lasers are performed on the entire face, but that’s not to say you can’t use them to spot treat a specific area. Some patients choose to have the treatment done on smaller albeit more sensitive regions like:

  • Around the lips to target fine lines
  • Under the eyes to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines
  • Around the eyes and on the eyelids to tighten the skin
  • On the entire face

What Are The Benefits?

There are several benefits to getting a CO2 skin laser treatment which is why it remains a popular procedure. For those with severe sun and skin damage, scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and textural changes to the skin, a CO2 laser can drastically reduce the appearance of these concerns. It can also help improve skin laxity, too.

Some of the main benefits of CO2 laser skin treatments include:

  • Increased collagen production: As part of the healing process, the skin creates new, fresh collagen, which results in smoother, plumper, tighter-looking skin. New collagen also makes a smoother visage.
  • New skin cell growth: As the body cleans out the old, damaged cells in their place, it creates new skin cells for rejuvenated skin that look healthier.
  • Fewer lines and wrinkles: Another benefit of collagen production is skin that’s less laden with lines and wrinkles. That’s because the new, healthy collagen can give plumpness to the skin making the signs of aging less apparent.
  • Firmer skin: The production of new collagen also creates tighter, firmer skin.
  • More evenly toned skin: As the ablative CO2 laser breaks down pigmentation in the skin, it creates a more uniform skin tone with fewer spots and discoloration.
  • Reduces scars: Again, new, healthy, fresh skin cells and collagen replaces the damaged ones that are responsible for scars.

Overall, the skin will emerge smoother with fewer lines and wrinkles and more evenly toned. It will also have an improved quality that is younger with more elasticity and plumpness.

How does it work?

CO2 laser skin resurfacing works differently than other types of lasers.

Using a fractionated version of laser energy, the laser creates precise energy channels. These channels make a pattern on the skin that treats the skin while stimulating collagen production, new cell growth, and improving the skin’s tone and texture to erase the common signs of aging.

The laser uses short pulses of energy not to damage the skin unnecessarily. The entire treatment is very controlled so that the light emitted onto the skin safely removes the uppermost layer of skin with minimal heat-related damage.

CO2 lasers are relatively intense, and because they ablate the skin with carbon dioxide, they require some downtime. While the skin may appear red, swollen, and even crusty, the final results won’t be noticeable until it is fully healed, so expect a few weeks to see your new, fresh skin.

How much does CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Cost?

We recommend a consultation to determine the cost of CO2 laser skin resurfacing. Then, our providers can discuss the treatment details with you to obtain your desired results.

We tailor the treatment to your needs, and the cost will vary. A single treatment starts at $800, depending on treatment details. Our team can create a custom package and a more accurate price for the treatment. A consultation with our staff will provide a more accurate treatment cost.

Common FAQs

The exact time to perform CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment depends on the area being treated and the extent of the damage. The laser can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to perform from start to finish. You'll want to allow some time for the topical numbing cream to be applied and take effect.

Taking proper care of your skin after a laser treatment is essential to keep it healthy and garner the best results possible. The skin will feel sensitive for the first few days and may be red, tight, dry, or itchy, which will subside as the healing process begins.

Exposing the skin to the sun is detrimental to the healing process and the results of the laser. Therefore, it's imperative to wear skin-safe sunscreen every day to prevent the formation of unwanted pigmentation.

As the skin is in recovery mode, the outermost layer of skin is extremely sensitive and vulnerable, so a bland, gentle skincare routine is best. You'll also want to keep the skin clean and wash with mild cleansers to prevent infections or cross-contamination. In addition, soothing antioxidants and inflammation-reducing products are helpful. The one thing you'll want to avoid at all costs is harsh, acid-based, or irritating products–you don't want to aggravate the skin. You should also avoid fragranced products, exfoliators, and retinol.

A good occlusive moisturizer or ointment is necessary to lock in water and help the healing process move along.

Laser skin resurfacing offers long-lasting results, but, unfortunately, the skin will continue to age and be exposed to damaging elements. To prolong your results, which can last for years, protect your skin from the sun and other potentially harmful aggressors.

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If you’re ready to rejuvenate your skin, now is the time to book a consultation with Charette Cosmetics. A one-on-one consultation with our experienced aestheticians will determine the best treatment plan for you. We can also customize a package specific to your needs so that you can obtain the best results possible.

Fill out the form to schedule a consultation or click the button below to book your CO2 skin laser treatment appointment today!

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Services Guide


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Download our exclusive Charette Cosmetics Services & Pricing Guide to learn more about our service menu & treatment prices.